Friday, February 25, 2011

Parking Management: A Contribution Toward Livable Cities

WOW!!!! I just came across this excellent parking management resource called Parking Management: A Contribution Towards Livable Cities released by GTZ's Sustainable Urban Transportation Project. You can download it here or read a summary here.

The booklet is written by Tom Rye, Professor of Transportation & Mobility Management at Edinburgh Napier University. It is a fantastic resource, chock full of policy management options and case studies to match. It focuses on developing countries, but many of its lessons can be applied across the globe.

"The message is that parking is a vital urban and transport resource that needs to be efficiently managed. Proper parking management would reduce the need to travel longer distances, reduce the amount of short trips, and also initiate a modal shift to other climate friendly modes of travel."
If you believe, like me, that parking management is a tool for serving wider goals in transportation policy and urban planning, you will certainly like this piece.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snow Piles Should Inspire Road Designers

I have often argued that the design of a road or intersection has more to do with bad driving behavior (i.e. speeding, fast turning) than the skill of the drivers themselves. It's hard to fault a driver who speeds through an intersection with a wide, sweeping turn radius. I mean, that is what the design is asking the driver to do.

As a result, it is up to planners and engineers to get educated about traffic calming techniques, such as neckdowns or curb extensions that slow traffic down. Check out the following video that illustrates how snow has created safer crossings where planners and engineers have failed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bike Lanes and Sidewalks Caught in Pork Battle

The reauthorization of the next surface transportation bill is starting to heat up as the new congress gets back to business. The Senate recently held a hearing to discuss the bill, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has committed to getting it passed.

The legislation has the long, winding name "The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users." That's SAFETEA-LU for short. It's a funding and authorization bill that governs U.S. federal surface transportation spending. President Bush signed it into law in August 2005. It expired in September 2009. Congress approved  several extensions, but has not been able to tackle the replacement bill during the past two years.

The $286.4 billion measure contains a host of provisions intended to improve and maintain the surface transportation infrastructure in the U.S., including the interstate highway system, transit systems around the country, bicycling and pedestrian facilities, and freight rail operations.

Most problematics is that some in Congress still see enhancement programs, which provide funding for bicycle lanes and sidewalks, as pork. They are not. These programs are essential to cutting transportation costs and building a comprehensive transportation system. And they create jobs.